Bombay HC extends interim relief for senior advocates of Lawyers Collective

The Bombay high court (HC) on Thursday continued the interim relief granted to senior advocate Anand Grover and the NGO Lawyers Collective, whereby the Enforcement Directorate (ED) will not be able to summon them till January 15.

While the petition filed by the Lawyers Collective, which sought quashing of the enforcement case information report (ECIR) and subsequent summons and probe, was to be heard by the division bench of justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik on Wednesday, due to paucity of time the bench extended the interim relief. The petition had also challenged the summons issued by ED under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The petition was filed after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered a case for alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) against Lawyers Collective, which is run by senior lawyers Indira Jaising and Grover. The case, which mentioned Grover as an accused, was registered on a complaint from the ministry of home affairs, which had in 2016 cancelled the FCRA license of the NGO for allegedly using foreign contributions for political purposes.

In the previous hearing on November 25, the bench had said that due to the pandemic situation and considering the age of the senior lawyer, ED could defer the summons and postpone its investigation. The court had then asked ED to file an affidavit in reply to the petition and directed that ED should not insist on the presence of petitioners till then. The court will hear the pleas next on January 15.

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